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We Built This City...
I've been working on building a platform for myself. In case you don't know what a platform is, it means I've been trying to get my name out there, network, and prepare for the future. A platform helps gain interest in my writing from the sorts of people who like the sort of thing I write or the sorts of people who just like me in general. If this sounds selfish, it's not. I've loved connecting with people and have become part of their platforms as well.
Most of my platform building has taken place on Twitter, where I have over 700 real followers (as opposed to the fake, padding-your-numbers followers you can get on Twitter). These people are friends, writers, book reviewers, bloggers, and fans of fantasy. Most of the people I've found through the #WW (Writer Wednesday) and #FF (Follow Friday) tags, as recommended by other Tweeps. I follow any writer I find, and most have been kind enough to follow me back. And when I can, I immerse myself in the Twitter stream, respond to some Tweets, then step back out. It feels a bit like a slow moving, multi-topic chat room, the sort of thing I grew up using.
I have also doing some platform building in person. I made up some cards/bookmarks, and have given them out when possible. See low-res photo here:
I met some nice people on a vacation over Halloween, some of whom became the first few to get my cards.
House on the Rock
My vacation over Halloween was to House on the Rock for the Neil Gaiman - American Gods weekend. House on the Rock is what happens when one man decides he's going to collect/build whatever odd thing pops into his head. Books, weapons, armor, circus toys, doll houses, and what is claimed to be the World's Largest Carousel are just some of the things my wife and I saw at House on the Rock. It was odd, fascinating, and fantastic. A couple of the stand-outs for me were a gigantic sea creature (the boat in his mouth is a full-sized row-boat):
And the massive amount of mythological creatures:
But the highlight of the weekend was meeting Neil Gaiman. My wife and I stood in line for a couple of hours Friday night for the book signing (during which time we met some great people). When it was our turn to go up, I said something to Neil about how I was the person who won his TwitChange retweet auction and how it was great to meet him. He was very nice, shook my hand, and said he recognized my name (the great thing about having a name like Kris Dalpiaz is how much it stands out, the bad thing about it is when you tell people to go to krisdalpiaz.com and have to spell out every letter of the first and last name, and hope they heard each of them correctly). Here's how he signed my "Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader" book:
The drawing for my monthly book giveaway happened at the beginning of November (since I was out of town at the end of October), and the winner was Doni M., who chose Coraline as his book. The next drawing will happen at the end of November, and the winner will get to choose any book he/she wants under $20. All you have to do for your chance to win is sign up for my newsletter (which I never send out anyway). On top of the book I gave to Doni, I gave away two copies of "The Graveyard Book" I received at the American Gods weekend to Michael H. and Alyssa D. You can never give too many books.
As any writer will tell you, the question they get asked the most is "How is writing going?" I assume people ask because they want to know, not just to make idle chit-chat. So here's what's been going on in my world of writing.
About a month ago I went to a workshop put on by Chris Richman, agent at Upstart Crow Literary. After the workshop, I had lunch with him. He seemed like the sort of guy I would like to deal with when my novel is ready.
So where am I with the novel? I'm revising pretty hardcore. Currently I'm on chapter 8 of 22. Revising is different than editing in that I'm basically deleting and re-writing the entire first half of the novel. It's a long, slow process, but one that has to be done if the book will ever get published. I plan to make major headway this week with the Thanksgiving holiday and after getting my "Death of a Hero" short story finished.
Right, "Death of a Hero" - It is finished. As of this minute, it is not up on the site. To this point I've had a couple of people (Hi Trevor. Hi Ben.) looking over each part of the story and sending me their edits. Unfortunately I got part 3 out to them at a bad time. Trevor had a busy weekend, and Ben is out of the country until early December. I won't wait for Ben to get back, but Trevor is going to try to get my some edits as soon as he can. When those are in, the story goes up.
I have to resist jumping into my next short stories. I've already got a couple that I have started in my head and really want to follow. But the book is the most important writing I can do and will have my full attention for a while. (Minus website updates).
I received a bit of good news from my wife. It seems the sister of one of her friends was a professional editor and said she would love to edit my novel. This is a bit like going into your attic and finding an antique worth thousands of dollars. Really, editors are that important.
Lastly, I emailed Neil Gaiman in response to something posted in his blog talking of cronyism and the benefits of money. I was thrilled to see my email make it into his latest blog entry. It's at the bottom. Check it out if you have time.